NEWS

Leaders looking for a boost from TV

New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis and his PASOK counterpart George Papandreou attempted yesterday to pep up their parties’ campaigns ahead of the June 7 European parliamentary elections with television appearances aimed at convincing wavering voters to back them. Both of Greece’s big parties are concerned about the level of apathy among voters in the runup to next month’s ballot. Opinion polls are indicating that six in 10 Greeks has no great interest in the vote and that one in 10 has not decided who to support. George Papandreou was the first to appear on TV screens in a live press conference. With one eye on the next general election, the PASOK leader highlighted the government’s failings and unveiled the Socialists’ new slogan: «Either we change or we sink.» «Either we continue down this dead-end road with policies that are unfair and unequal, or we change direction and we head along the path of green development and redistribution of wealth,» he said. A Public Issue poll published on Tuesday indicated that PASOK had a 4.5 percent lead over New Democracy, down from 6 percent on Sunday. In a bid to trim this gap further, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis gave a one-on-one interview to Mega TV in which he insisted that the result of the Euro poll would not affect the legitimacy of his government. Karamanlis adopted an apologetic stance on the shortcomings of his administration, particularly with respect to the recent scandals, but denied that any member of the government had intentionally tried to hurt taxpayers’ interests in the property swap with the Vatopedi Monastery. He also underlined that at this stage he does not have any plans to introduce more taxes.